Generally, I am a paperless person. Being a global nomad, paper is heavy and impractical. I have found many ways to avoid paper – making notes on my iPhone, taking photos of documents and leaflets rather than taking them with me, and of course the awesome Cardscanner iPhone app to reduce the clutter of business cards.
But once in a while, some worthwhile bits of paper come into my life…. Herein follow some general updates, in which paper plays an unusually significant part.
On Saturday I was at Broadcasting House for BBC Radio 4’s Excess Baggage. If you missed the live show, you can still listen to it online here.
Great fun was had by all at the Ocean Rowing Society Dinner at London Rowing Club on Saturday night. Back in 2004, just a few weeks after I had decided to row the oceans, I went to the Ocean Rowing Weekend in Torquay and had a long and informative conversation with rower Graham Walters. On Saturday we once again talked at length, during which he conceded that there is no longer very much he can teach me about ocean rowing. It gave me a pleasing sense of having come full circle – literally (around the world via the 3 big oceans) as well as figuratively.
I also received four Guinness certificates for my four world records, which have now been confirmed as:
– longest row completed by a solo woman
– first woman to row the Pacific solo
– first woman to row three oceans
– longest total time at sea by a female ocean rower
Yesterday (Sunday) I went to a fascinating talk by Jeremy Naydler, author of Gardening As A Sacred Art. He described the “beautiful uselessness” of ornamental gardening as an antidote to the prevailing view of nature as a resource to be pillaged and exploited for mankind’s benefit. Very thought-provoking. It also turned out that, by strange coincidence, his father was the author of a book about ocean rowing: The Penance Way, about Hoare and Johnstone’s fatal voyage across the North Atlantic in 1966. It reminded me how very happy I am NOT to be doing the North Atlantic next year.
Last night I dined in formal hall at my old college, University College Oxford. I was delighted to find George Cawkwell also dining at high table. George is now 92 years old and retired from active duty as a Classics tutor, but is still as sharp as a tack. A great testament to the virtues of living an engaged and active life.
And finally, some exciting news. An invitation from the Queen (via the Master of the Household) to attend an event on 8th December at Buckingham Palace, to be attended by explorers and adventurers to mark the centenary of the death of Scott of the Antarctic – another in that fine British tradition of adventurers who died on expedition. Maybe it is just as well that I quit rowing while I was ahead – and alive.